Apex triggers can’t contain DML operations that mix big objects and sObjects

Apex triggers are a powerful feature in Salesforce that allows developers to automate processes when certain events occur in the system. However, there are certain limitations and considerations to keep in mind when working with Apex triggers. One important limitation is that Apex triggers cannot contain Data Manipulation Language (DML) operations that

mix big objects and sObjects.

In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons behind this limitation and explore alternative strategies to work within its confines.


Salesforce Apex triggers are essential for automating actions in response to specific events in a Salesforce instance. However, when dealing with a combination of big objects and sObjects, developers encounter limitations that restrict the use of DML operations within the same trigger.

Understanding Apex Triggers

Apex triggers are pieces of code that execute before or after events like record insertion, update, deletion, or undeletion. These triggers enable customization and automation of business logic, streamlining processes for developers.

The Combination Challenge: Big Objects and sObjects

Big objects are designed to handle large volumes of data, but they operate differently from standard sObjects. The challenge arises when attempting to manipulate both big objects and sObjects in the same Apex trigger.

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Why the Limitation?

The limitation on mixing DML operations involving big objects and sObjects stems from the underlying architecture of Salesforce. Big objects and sObjects have distinct data storage mechanisms and access patterns, making it complex to efficiently perform combined DML operations without compromising performance.

Impact on Data Management

The inability to mix DML operations can impact data management strategies. Developers often need to consider alternative methods to ensure data consistency and accuracy across both big objects and sObjects.

Strategies for Working Around the Limitation

Solution 1: Asynchronous Processing

One workaround is to perform DML operations asynchronously, leveraging asynchronous Apex to process big objects and sObjects separately. This approach ensures that each type of object is handled independently, minimizing performance bottlenecks.

Solution 2: Using Helper Classes

Developers can create helper classes to manage DML operations for big objects and sObjects separately. This approach enhances code organization and reusability, although it introduces some complexity.

Solution 3: Data Segmentation

Segmenting data based on object type can help overcome the limitation. By processing big objects and sObjects in distinct transactions, developers can avoid mixing DML operations within a single trigger.

Best Practices for Effective Trigger Management

To navigate the limitation successfully, consider these best practices:

  • Modularization: Break down complex triggers into smaller, focused units.
  • Bulk Processing: Design triggers to handle bulk data to prevent hitting Salesforce governor limits.
  • Testing: Thoroughly test triggers to ensure they work effectively within the confines of the platform.

Real-world Use Case: Financial Services Integration

In a financial services integration scenario, a trigger must handle both large transactional records and customer data. By using asynchronous processing and helper classes, developers can efficiently integrate data without violating the DML limitation.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Developers should be cautious when working around the limitation:

  • Maintainability: Overly complex workarounds can hinder code maintenance.
  • Performance: Poorly designed workarounds may still impact system performance.


Apex triggers are a cornerstone of Salesforce customization, but the limitation on mixing DML operations involving big objects and sObjects requires developers to adopt creative solutions. By leveraging asynchronous processing, helper classes, and data segmentation, developers can efficiently work within these limitations.


FAQ 1: Can I perform DML operations on big objects within an Apex trigger?

No, Apex triggers cannot perform DML operations that involve a mix of big objects and sObjects. Salesforce’s architecture enforces this limitation to ensure data integrity and platform performance.

FAQ 2: Are there any workarounds to enable DML mixing for big objects and sObjects?

Yes, there are workarounds. You can utilize asynchronous processing, create helper classes, or segment data processing to overcome this limitation.

FAQ 3: How does the limitation impact database performance?

The limitation exists to maintain optimal database performance. Mixing DML operations for big objects and sObjects can lead to inefficiencies and performance degradation.

FAQ 4: What are the benefits of using helper classes in trigger development?

Helper classes enhance code organization and reusability. They allow you to manage DML operations for big objects and sObjects separately, without compromising code quality.

FAQ 5: Where can I learn more about Salesforce best practices?

You can find comprehensive resources and documentation on Salesforce best practices in the official Salesforce Trailhead platform, which offers a wide range of tutorials and modules.

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